Cracked Up

Love it or hate it, this seasonal tradition will certainly make an appearance at one of your holiday parties.

Was once known as “egg milk punch.” Yuck.

Origin is not entirely known. It’s believed to have come from East Anglia, England, but others say it may have evolved from a medieval hot milk drink known as posset. Either way, it’s still enormously popular in Canada and the U.S. during the holiday season.

The “nog” part of its name may stem from the word noggin, a Middle English term for a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol.

Another story is that the term derived from egg and grog, a common Colonial term used for the drink made with rum. Eventually, that term was shortened to egg’n’grog, then eggnog.

Kitchen records from Mount Vernon indicate that George Washington served an eggnog-like drink to guests. Not short on funds, the general apparently didn’t skimp on the booze either.

The Eggnog Riot occurred at the United States Military Academy December 23-25, 1826. Whiskey was smuggled into the barracks to make eggnog for a Christmas Day party. The incident resulted in the court-martialing of 20 cadets and one enlisted soldier.

In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among aristocracy. Those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy.

For concerns about the safety of selling products made from raw eggs and milk, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has changed or altered the definition of eggnog a number of times toward artificial replacements for the large number of eggs traditionally required. Modern FDA regulations permit eggnog to contain less than 1% egg yolk solids and “milk or milk products.


Classic Holiday Eggnog

Courtesy of Paul Martin’s American Grill in El Segundo 

Serves 4–6  |  10–15 minutes total prep time


4 large eggs

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

2 ounces bourbon

1 ounce Myers’s Rum or other dark (but not spiced) rum

1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

cinnamon sticks for garnish 


1. In two mixing bowls, separate the eggs: yolks in one bowl, whites in the other.

2. Whisk yolks until they lighten in color (about 2 minutes).

3. Add 1/3 cup of sugar to yolks and continue to whisk until well blended and the sugar is dissolved.

4. Blend cream and milk and then slowly add to the yolk-sugar mix while whisking. Slowly add bourbon and rum while whisking.

5. Grate the nutmeg directly into the cream-yolk mixture (about 1/4 of a nutmeg should be enough).

6. Add vanilla extract, whisk and set aside.

Whisk egg whites for about a minute, then add 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue to whisk until soft peak stage (a cold mixing bowl will help).

7. Fold the beaten egg whites into the cream-yolk mixture and then whisk thoroughly until fully blended. Pour into chilled cups or glasses  and garnish each with a cinnamon stick.